Food for Karnali folks awaits

Nepalgunj, October 16:

Rice that was supposed to be supplied to the food-scarce Karnali zone during Dashain has been lying unloaded in the Nepalgunj airport for five days.

A sky truck of the Nepal Army could not supply 20 quintals of rice to the remote zone after Maoist cadres barred it from supplying food on October 12, demanding that passengers be flown first.

The rice has been stored in a warehouse at the airport, said Harihar Shrestha, acting zonal chief of the Nepal Food Corporation (NFC) office in Nepalgunj. The plan to ensure a smooth supply of food in the region during the festival came a cropper, he said.

Prioritising the supply of food to food-deficit Humla district, the government had pressed the sky truck into service with a view to supplying 1,000 quintals of rice.

Since Tuesday, the army plane has been supplying rice to Humla from Surkhet, Shrestha said. “However, food could not be supplied from Nepalgunj due to the obstructions.”

“Now that food supply has resumed from Surkhet, the Karnali zone as well as districts in the far and mid-western regions will not face food scarcity during Tihar,” he said.

On Tuesday, 38 quintals of rice was supplied to Simikot in Humla, 36 quintals in Martadi of Bajura and 34 quintals in Dunai of Dolpa, the Nepalgunj-based NFC zonal office said. On Monday, the army plane and a chopper of the Shree air supplied 110 quintals of rice to Dolpa, Mugu and Bajura, the office said.

In remote areas, rice provided by the NFC is cheaper and the demand is increasing, Shrestha said.

He ruled out the possibility of food shortage in Karnali for now.